Monday, October 17, 2011

First Love

Scotty Smith post:  A Prayer about Jesus Coming to Church

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:19-20
I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. Revelation 2:4-5
Lord Jesus, this image of you being on the outside—knocking on the door of the church, is both frightening and inviting. Frightening in this sense: How is it possible to “do church” failing to realize that you’ve “left the house”? How does a church (and individual believer), once enthralled with your beauty, thriving in the gospel, and liberated for your service become tepid and ingrown? What is the path to lukewarm-ness—what are the stepping stones to cooled affections? How do we lose, leak or leave our first love for you, Jesus… and in time, not really notice or care?

What could be more scary bad and potently tragic? Only your love is better than life. Only your love can fill these screaming empty, ugly demanding hearts of ours. Only your love is astonishing and nourishing. Only in vital communion and rich fellowship with you are we really alive. Have mercy on us Lord, have mercy on me.

As frightening as this scenario is, Lord Jesus, there is an inviting part to these scriptures. You are the Bridegroom who pursues your faithless and fickle bride. You DO knock on the doors of our churches and hearts. It’s because you love us that you rebuke and discipline us. It’s because you’re married to us, not just dating us, that you come after us. It’s because you know the wedding feast to come that you keep coming after us. Though we may forget what it means to feast and fellowship with you, you’ll never get used to it, Jesus. Hallelujah… hallelujah… hallelujah.

Grant us repentance, Jesus, grant us earnest repentant hearts. Embarrass us with your mercies and our memories of earlier days—seasons when we followed you like a young, enraptured bride. Humble us with your grace, for the law cannot and will not do this deep heart work. Bring a fresh supply of the new wine of the gospel as you come through the door. Do anything it takes to recapture, refresh and renew us, Jesus, anything. So very Amen we pray, with longing and expectant hearts.

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